Wednesday 28 September 2016

Friday Five: Ways to Become a Social, Mobile Listener

For decades, understanding an audience was an exercise that combined quantitative analytics and a lot of guesswork. Today, the combination of social media and mobile communications technologies has so drastically changed consumer behavior patterns that anticipating a buyer’s action is not nearly as effective as using these technologies to observe how people act, and then respond with the types of goods and services they need.

Here are five tips that will help make your “tech listening” as complete and useful as possible.

1. Don’t Just Tag Pages, Tag Activities

Typically, analytics packages (like Google Analytics or Omniture) are set up to track what happens in the HTML, which is to say, only at the page level. In a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture, which many mobile web sites are built in today, you should work with your web developer to find additional tagging opportunities at the controller level. Track a button hover and a button push; the “play” of a video; the amount of time that a user spends filling out a shopping cart, etc. Be selective, but thorough.

2. Set Up Platform-Specific Monitoring

With the way responsive design works, certain styles are invoked based on the user’s screen dimensions. Set up special functions that allow you to track specific items or paths given the user’s device or screen resolution.

3. Be Creative and Tasteful in the Creation of Feedback Opportunities

Marketers tend to be blind to what constitutes an overlong or too detailed survey. But feedback comes in many forms. Use a slider to let the user deliver a range response to a single question, or ask, “Did you find what you’re looking for?” Simple one-question and/or three-option polls provide decent directional feedback that, when coupled with the context of the user (are they using a smartphone or a laptop? Is it 2:43 PM or 1:07 AM?), provides valuable insights.

4. Nail Your Entry Points

In an increasingly mobile-connected world, a decreasing percentage of users start at your homepage. Coordinate with all relevant parties to agree on entry points. These can be SMS/MMS as well as web forms, direct URLs from promotional messaging and ads. Does your digital vendor handle SMS/MMS in an integrated manner? If not, get one that does, because this is one of the leading engagement paths for consumers. Also, be strategic about appending source details to a URL – it helps you better see which sites are referring which users.

5. Embrace Custom URL Shortening

You know about Bit.ly and TinyURL.com, but did you know that these and many others allow you to create your own “vanity” shortened URLs? Find the ones that provide tracking so you can see what Google Analytics can’t tell you: when a URL has been shared and between whom; it’s one thing to listen, but something else entirely to know when people share what you have said. Click here for a comprehensive list of shortening services.

Every entry point of interactive marketing (web, SMS, MMS, native apps, etc.) represents some call-to-action, and every call-to-action is an opportunity to listen to your audience. With well-planned and properly executed tech listening, your digital ecosystem feeds information back into the marketing team. This allows for the ready identification of opportunities and problems, which streamlines the strategic response process and leads to more efficient and effective online operations.

How do you implement tech listening for your clients and/or brands?

Image credit: Johan Larsson

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